ABSA - Alliance Agreement - September 23, 2002


The American Biological Safety Association (ABSA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) share the common mission of protecting health, and preventing illness and injury in the workplace. ABSA focuses primarily on biological safety. Its members have expertise in anticipating, recognizing and assessing risk, as well as controlling and mitigating the spread of biological hazards in the workplace. These topic areas have particular relevance in the post-9/11 and October 2001 work environment.

OSHA and ABSA both recognize that collaboration is essential in addressing the evolving biological safety issues facing American workplaces today. ABSA consists of an array of professionals that include microbiologists, biologists, molecular biologists, epidemiologists, environmental health scientists, industrial hygienists, health care professionals, public health professionals, veterinarians, chemists, containment equipment designers and certifiers, architects and engineers. ABSA members have also developed knowledge of the principles of epidemiology, risk assessment, aerobiology, primary and secondary containment, safe handling and storage practices, personal protective equipment, transport, employee training, emergency preparedness and response, environmental monitoring, decontamination and sterilization, and waste management all relevant to biological safety. OSHA and ABSA agree to use their collective expertise both to enhance workplace health and safety, and to assist employers in developing a preventive focus for biological safety issues in workplace environments.

ABSA and OSHA will work together to achieve the following outreach and communication goals concerning biological safety in the workplace:

  • ABSA and OSHA will share technical information and best practices regarding biological safety.
  • ABSA will provide OSHA with technical advice, information and recommendations related to biological safety.
  • ABSA will provide peer review, upon request, of OSHA technical documents concerning biological safety issues.
  • ABSA and OSHA will work together to identify emerging occupational biological safety issues and methods to address those issues.
  • ABSA will identify individuals within the Association who have expertise on specific biological safety issues, and who have agreed to serve as direct points of contact for OSHA regarding those issues.
  • ABSA will provide OSHA, upon request, with information about international regulations and guidelines relevant to biological safety.
  • ABSA will be available for consultation, upon request, to OSHA Compliance Assistance Specialists regarding biological safety issues.
  • ABSA will assist OSHA in identifying and developing technical links on biological safety for the OSHA Website.
  • OSHA will participate in ABSA conferences.

ABSA and OSHA will work together to achieve the following training and education goals:

  • ABSA will provide the OSHA Training Institute, upon request, with educational and training materials and resources on biological safety.
  • ABSA will provide peer review, upon request, of OSHA training curricula on topics relevant to biological safety.

ABSA and OSHA will work together to achieve the following goal related to promoting the national dialogue concerning biological safety in the workplace:

  • ABSA and OSHA will work together to encourage employers to incorporate biological safety strategies into their overall safety and health programs.

An implementation team made up of representatives of both organizations will meet to develop a plan of action, determine working procedures, and identify the roles and responsibilities of the participants. In addition, they will meet at least quarterly to track and share information on activities and results in achieving the goals of the Alliance. OSHA will afford the opportunity for representatives of the Occupational Safety and Health State Plan Association and the association of state Consultation Projects to participate as well.

The information provided by ABSA and/or its members is for the purpose of contributing to informed decision-making by the Agency and any other recipients of this information. Information provided by ABSA does not constitute an official statement or position by ABSA and is not intended by the parties to create any legal obligations for ABSA or its individual members. ABSA is not a standard setting organization, and information provided pursuant to this Alliance Agreement is not intended as a legally binding standard or guideline.

This Alliance Agreement will remain in effect for one year from the date of signing and will renew automatically on an annual basis thereafter. This Alliance Agreement may be modified at any time with the written agreement of both parties and may be terminated for any reason with 30 days written notice from either party.

John Henshaw
Assistant Secretary


Maureen Best